San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich declined to commit one way or the other regarding Manu Ginobili's potential retirement following the Spurs' 129-115 defeat to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals Monday night.
Popovich said the loss "may or may not be" Ginobili's last game, per the San Antonio Express-News' Jeff McDonald. Popovich added he inserted the 39-year-old into the starting lineup "out of respect," which arguably signals the legendary coach wouldn't be surprised to see Ginobili bow out this offseason.
NBA TV shared Popovich's postgame comments:
Prior to Monday's game, Ginobili said he won't start considering his future until after the playoffs ended, per the Washington Post's Tim Bontemps: "I don't know what I'm going to do. I just go game by game. We'll see if [Monday] is the last one of the season. We'll hope that it's not and that we have a few more. Once it's over, then I'll start thinking about what the future brings."
Assuming this could be the end, a number of NBA personalities tweeted out their appreciation of Ginobili's accomplishments and game:
The end will come for the Spurs' Big Three era sooner or later. Tim Duncan walked away last summer, and Ginobili could be the next out the door. He turns 40 in July, and he averaged a career-low 18.7 minutes per game this season.
The Western Conference Finals illustrated the gulf between the Warriors and Spurs. Even with a healthy Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio doesn't match up well with Golden State over a seven-game playoff series.
With the odds of winning a fifth NBA title appearing slim next year, Ginobili may feel he has accomplished everything he possibly can on the court.